For this year’s Sotheby's Designer Showhouse and Auction, twelve established and up-and-coming designers are curating signature rooms with unique pieces from a range of Sotheby’s departments, including 20th Century Design, Prints, Silver, Photography and English furniture. Here, Dan Mazzarini, Brian Humphrey and Sarah Peterson, the BHDM Design team who is creating the Showhouse Sunroom, shares their design philosophy, tips for new collectors and more.
Dan Mazzarini, Brian Humphrey and Sarah Peterson, the BHDM Design team behind the Showhouse sunroom, want their space to demonstrate the versatility of antiques. “People often think of antiques as ‘indoor only,’ and a sunroom can challenge this notion,” they collectively explain. “We want to make antiques more approachable for younger buyers, and incorporating furnishings in this context may be unexpected to those with preconceived notions of where such pieces ‘belong’ in the home.”
BHDM DESIGN PARTNERS DAN MAZZARINI AND BRIAN HUMPHREY. PHOTOGRAPH BY ADAM KANE MACCHIA.
What is your number-one design rule?
Is there a major rule you like to break?
There’s a common misconception that small spaces can’t be dark. But incorporating a deep hue into the walls or ceiling of a small space can help to make it feel intimate and interesting.
Finish this sentence: No room is ever complete without ______.
Dimmers – mood lighting is key in achieving ambience.
Is there a key to decorating a sunroom?
Keep it flexible! Don’t be afraid to switch out pillows, put up drapes or layer rugs when seasons change. It can help to keep an otherwise spring and summer-centric space useable and comfortable year round.
A CASUAL, SOPHISTICATED BHDM INTERIOR. PHOTOGRAPH BY ADAM KANE MACCHIA.
Were there any pieces you discovered during this process that you especially fell in love with?
The George II mahogany centre table. Its simple silhouette and marble top are timeless.
What are your thoughts on the conversation between art and design?
While artwork should harmonize with a room’s design, it should not necessarily dictate the palette of a room. Adding an unexpected pop of colour via an incredible painting or tempering a saturated palette with simple etchings or black-and-white photographs keeps a room from feeling one-note.
Do you have any tips for integrating art into a room?
Consider scale. An unexpectedly extra large or extra-small piece can be just the right statement in a room. Also, keep in mind that symmetry is not always the answer. Hanging a piece off-centre can sometimes do more to show if off than if it were hung where one might expect.
What’s your advice for first-time antique and art buyers?
Start with classics, no matter the scale. A round mahogany pedestal table can look just as dramatic as a stand-alone piece in a foyer as it could in a small dining room, or a family-room game nook.
A DETAIL SHOT OF A CLIENT'S LIVING ROOM. PHOTOGRAPH BY REID ROLLS.
What is the smartest piece of furniture someone can invest in?
An armoire can be used in so many contexts, for so many things. You can never have enough storage, and clutter is best kept out of sight.
Are there any designers whose work has inspired you?
For their layered take on American classic, Thomas O’Brien, Mark Cunningham and Steven Gambrel. For their quiet approachable modernity, S. Russell Groves and Victoria Hagan. For their narratives, we’re still fans of Philippe Stark and David Rockwell.
Which shops (for wallpaper, furniture, carpet, etc.) are your favourites?
The Paris flea market, March in San Francisco, Laurin Copen in the Hamptons and Sears Peyton Gallery and Holly Hunt in New York are just a few we like to frequent.